I’ve written before that one of my favorite works of art hanging amid many classics in my mother-in- law’s home is an engraved wooden plaque that reads, “We interrupt this marriage to bring you the hunting season.”
Pairing a hunter’s wild game bounty with wine is becoming a common theme for my column this time of year.
Wild duck is very different from the commercial breast we find in most supermarkets. Commercial ducks tend to have a very fatty texture, while wild duck is quite lean with an earthy flavor. Wild duck generally pairs best with the same earthy, gamy characteristics in a pinot noir, cabernet franc and tempranillo.
- 2013 Force of Nature Tempranillo, California (about $18 retail)
- 2012 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Cabernet Franc, California (about $49 retail)
Venison is possibly the most traditional hunting meat for our region and it’s on my family’s menu throughout the year. It tends to be leaner than most red meats and has a distinct hearty flavor. Its bold flavor matches with heavier red wines sharing the same intensity as the dish. A California zinfandel or pinot noir, France’s Cotes du Rhone, Chilean merlot or French Bordeaux are good choices.
Dishes prepared with bear meat would pair well with these wines as well.
- 2012 Montes Alpha Merlot, Chile (about $19 retail)
- 2011 Stasis Pinot Noir, California (about $39 retail)
These birds generally have earthy flavors much bolder than chicken. Because of this earthiness, a red wine pairing can be an ideal match. A few varietals to consider are shiraz, zinfandel, pinot noir, grenache or tempranillo. White wines also work, but stay with fuller bodied styles such as chardonnay.
- 2013 Bonterra Chardonnay, California (about $14 retail)
- 2012 Cline Big Break Zinfandel, California (about $30 retail)